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#SeptemberLiteracyMonth Why is literacy important

September is National Literacy Month and as a nonprofit that helps adult immigrants in America reach necessary English literacy levels to find jobs, improve family life and integrate into society we feel it is our duty to bring some awareness to this issue.

In the United States, 43 million adults cannot read, write, or do basic math above a third-grade level. This has an impact not only on individuals but on our country as a whole.


“Bringing all adults to the equivalent of a sixth-grade reading level would generate an additional $2.2 trillion in annual income for the country.”

Health costs

“It is estimated between $106–$238 billion in health care costs a year are linked to low adult literacy skills.”

Social Impact

“75% of state incarcerated individuals did not complete high school or can be classified as low literate.”

“Incarcerated individuals who participate in correctional education programs are 43% less likely to recidivate than inmates who do not.1”

English language learners make up 53% of the immigrant population and at this moment less than 10% of these individuals are receiving services. With 50% of ProLiteracy member programs putting their students on a waiting list due to demand exceeding program capacity.

What is being done

"In 2021 148,170 students were served by member organizations with 82,085 instructors/volunteers providing services to students. "

"Using Independent Sector’s value of volunteer time ($28.54/hour), volunteers donated nearly $55 MILLION worth of time in adult literacy programs nationally. This equates to $74,000 per program."

Student benefits:

8,289 Got a job or a better job.

25,052 Improved employability skills.

13,508 Increased involvement in children’s educational activities.

10,696 Improved wellness and healthy lifestyle.

What you can do locally

In Manatee county, 1 in 5 adults cannot read above a 5th grade level. Project Light Of Manatee helps adults in Manatee County by offering English classes, computer classes and citizenship classes.

We are always welcoming new volunteer teachers, click here to learn how you can join our team.

If volunteering your time is not a possibility we are also accepting donations directly (click here) or through the Flanzer Foundation which will match your donation (click here).


1. Adult Literacy in the United States. (2019, July).

2. ProLiteracy Annual Statistical Report. (2021, January).

3. Rothwell, J. (2020, September). Assessing the Economic Gains of Eradicating Illiteracy Nationally and Regionally in the United States. Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

4. Vernon, J. A., Trujillo, A., Rosenbaum, S. & DeBuono, B. (2007, October). Low health literacy: Implications for national health policy. Health Sciences Research Commons. Washington, DC: George Washington University. Retrieved from


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